The roof is the part of your home that probably takes the most abuse from the weather. This is especially true in the winter and spring when temperatures fluctuate wildly – your roof endures every kind of precipitation possible. Once the snow has melted enough to get a good look at your roof, do a spring season inspection. Here are some problems to look for, solutions you can do yourself, and guidelines to know when it’s time to call in the roofers.
Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against the elements. Not only that, they are the most visible part of your roof – displaying any damage for your whole neighborhood to see. But luckily, this is the easiest part of your roof to inspect.
Once you get up on your roof, look for shingles that are pulling away or curling. Over time, weather fluctuations will cause your shingles to shrink and curl at the edges. This not only takes away from the aesthetically pleasing smooth angle of your roof but can also lead to other issues if not fixed. On a particularly windy day, a curled shingle could catch a gust and be blown off. And, if shingles aren’t lying flat, there is always a chance of leaks.
If there are just a few curled shingles on your roof, use a caulking gun and put a line of adhesive on the shingle underneath the damaged one. Lay the damaged shingle back down flat on the caulking and put a heavy object like a brick on it for at least 24 hours. But if the damaged shingles cover a good portion of your roof, or if you’re unable to make any repairs yourself, it’s time to call a professional. Widespread curling is a sign that the roof has reached the end of its life span – generally 15-25 years. It’s best to get ahead of this problem before the next big storm or you could be dealing with a messy cleanup on top of your roof issues.
There are some spots on your roof where shingles aren’t able to direct water efficiently. These spots are usually around chimneys, walls, and places where shingles meet at an angle. When a roofer gets to this point, they use flashing as a way to divert the water down to your eavestroughs.
Flashing is made of thin metal; when it is newly installed, it should last a long time. However, there are times when your flashing will get damaged and need to be replaced. If there is a spot on your roof where snow and ice accumulates, water can seep into cracks that have formed over time.
You will need to get up on your roof to check the state of your flashing. If you see some pieces that have cracked or pulled away, they need to be fixed as soon as possible to prevent leaks into your home. A small hole can be plugged up with roofing cement, but if there are multiple cracks, chipping or corrosion, call a roofer. A roofer will peel back the flashing and the surrounding shingles, install new materials, and you can rest assured that it should last for years to come.
Green roofs are taking off in popularity, but if your roof turns green from moss, this is definitely not the kind of green you’re looking for. Moss likes to live in cool, damp environments. If your roof is in the shade covered by trees or other structures and combined with rain, moss can find a nice little piece of your roof to thrive on.
Moss not only starts in wet places, it also retains moisture. This can be an extra burden on your roof as the patches hold moisture as long as they are there. This problem can be magnified in the winter when the moss freezes and the moisture within moves and expands.
Get on your roof to see how widespread the moss growth is before deciding what to do. If the moss can be peeled off easily with your hands, there are some fixes you can do yourself. First, hose the mossy area with a garden hose. A pressure washer is not recommended as the pressure can damage or lift your shingles. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the moss from the top of your roof down, gently removing the patches without damaging your shingles.
If there is moss growing between shingles and lifting them up, it’s time to call the pros. Moss may be small but over time it can pull shingles right off the roof letting water seep in and cause a whole host of new problems. It will probably be time for a new roof, which can be a big project. Getting a quote from a trusted roofer (or two) is a great first step.